China approves Ford, Mazda, Changan to split JV in two: Ford CEO

CHONGQING, China Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:32am EDT

Ford Motor Company President Alan Mulally makes remarks during a news conference after the annual meeting of shareholders in Wilmington, Delaware, May 10, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Shaffer

Ford Motor Company President Alan Mulally makes remarks during a news conference after the annual meeting of shareholders in Wilmington, Delaware, May 10, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tim Shaffer

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CHONGQING, China (Reuters) - Ford Motor (F.N) and Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) and their local Chinese partner Chongqing Changan Automotive Co have received approval from China's central government to split their three-way, manufacturing and sales joint venture into two, Ford's chief executive said on Monday.

"We're very pleased with the restructuring and the way it's going. We have approval from (China's central government), and we're proceeding through the regulatory process ... so we're very, very appreciative and encouraged," Chief Executive Alan Mulally told reporters in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing.

Ford and Mazda share two major manufacturing bases in Chongqing and the eastern city of Nanjing. Under the plan, the tie-up will be carved into two joint ventures, Changan Ford Mazda Automobile said in a statement on Monday.

The two ventures are temporarily called Changan Ford Automobile and Changan Mazda Automobile. The Chongqing operations will be owned and operated by Ford and Changan, and the Nanjing base by Mazda and Changan.

Naoto Oikawa, a Mazda spokesman in Shanghai, said the Japanese automaker was planning a formal announcement on the split, but had nothing to say on Monday. "We're likely to make a formal announcement shortly," Oikawa said, without elaborating.

Executives close to the three-way joint venture said the move is partly driven by Ford's decision in 2008 to raise money by reducing its controlling stake in Mazda to 13 percent from one third. The U.S. automaker later further reduced its stake in Mazda, and its stake currently stands at less than 3 percent.

The two companies now feel less need to coordinate their strategy in China with each other and are seeking more operational freedom to boost their presence individually in the country, which in 2009 surpassed the United States as the world's largest auto market, the knowledgeable individuals said.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Writing by Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

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Comments (1)
deliciadawn wrote:
Ford was one of the companies to receive millions in free grant money and billions from the Department of Energy. Why did Ford deserve to receive this money? When at the same time CEO Alan Mulally was earning over 50 million dollars a year! And Ford Jr. over 30 million a year!. If your company is not doing well the CEO and president’s pay should reflect this.
What kind of company deserves billions of dollars from the tax-payers that delays a deadly recall? From the conception of the Cruise Control switch in the 90′s Ford KNEW, the switch was defective, Ford was told this by Texas Instruments, yet Ford installed this fiery switch anyway. The additional cost of a safer alternative was.31 cents! I purchased a Lincoln Mark VIII, and in December of 2006 My son and his girlfriend burned to death in a car fire. The experts that examined the switch deemed it failed. But , the Federal Judge in Detroit deemed my case against Ford not worthy of preceding to court, so my son never was able to have his case heard in front of a jury. And to top that off the judge ordered me to pay Ford over 130,000 in legal fees. Ford paid the family of the girlfriend 500,000.
This is the type of America we live in today. RIP Payton.
P.S. Ford also paid the NHTSA 425,000 to delay recall, I received my recall 9 months after the fire, even though my car was one of the first to receive the defective switch.

Sep 01, 2012 7:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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